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Copywriting Guide: How to Get More Customers (Even If You Charge More)

Bank notesPeople don’t want to pay so much.

Customers don’t understand the value.

Sounds familiar?

It’s one of the biggest problems many small business owners face: How do you get paid what you deserve?

Before starting my own business, I spent a lot of my time fighting with sales teams. I always wanted prices to go up, they always wanted prices to go down.

I won’t bore you with math today. But when you’re selling a product, you’re almost always better off selling a smaller volume at a higher price than a large volume at a lower price.

And if you deliver a service, then the best way to raise your income is to increase your fees. Unless you want to work even more hours and have even less time for your family, your friends, and for holidays.

But how can you raise your fees?

One way is to specialize in a specific niche, such as web design for interior designers or for e-commerce stores. Or if you’re an online marketing coach, you could target car dealerships or sports clubs or charities.

When you have specific knowledge about the needs and wishes of a specific customer segment, you can charge more for your services.

But even without specializing, you can use a few copywriting tricks to get more money for your services.

Let’s see …

1. Use the power of imagination

You know that feeling when you’re planning a holiday?

You imagine yourself cycling through the Pyrenees. You smell the delicious French cheeses you’ll have for dessert each evening, when resting your tired legs. That sense of adventure. You can’t wait to go.

Or if you prefer: Imagine yourself at the beach. Feel the sun warming your skin. Taste the delicious sweetness of a cocktail. You feel calm and relaxed. You can’t wait to get away.

The more you think about your holiday, the more tempting it becomes. That’s the power of imagination.

How does that help with your copywriting?

You become a lot more valuable when prospects start thinking about buying an experience rather than a plain service. Your reader needs to imagine what it’s like to work with you.

Copywriting guide:
Use sensory or emotional words to add sizzle to your text, so your readers can visualize or feel what it’s like to work with you.

2. Provide specific details

Copy needs to be concise.

That’s true. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be short. Because you need to tell people exactly why they should spend so much money on your service or product.

Take for instance Apple’s web copy. They explain how the glass inlay of the iPhone is assembled into the aluminium housing. They describe the exact materials used. Even if readers don’t understand what anodized 6000 series aluminum is, they’ll still be impressed by this detail.

Apple tells you how many people tested the newly designed earphones. Each specific detail shows how the iPhone is manufactured with care and expertise. Each detail raises the perceived value of the product.

If you want to charge a premium for your services, then you need to explain why exactly you’re worth more money. Be as detailed as possible without being unwieldy. Specifics are fine. Repetitive phrases and unwieldy sentences are not.

Copywriting guide:
Explain details to show your authority and your expertise. Talk about your specific skills. Show how your specific experience helps your customers.

3. Show your value

Your product isn’t valuable. Your service isn’t valuable.

The only thing that IS valuable, is what your product or service does for your customer. How does it make your customer happier, richer, or healthier?

The most frequent reason for unsuccessful advertising is advertisers who are so full of their own accomplishments (the world’s best seed!) that they forget to tell us why we should buy (the world’s best lawn!). ~ John Caples

Don’t think about your hourly fees. Think about the value you offer your customers. What problems do you solve and what glitches do you avoid? How much is that worth? How much more money can your customer make because of the help you’re offering?

Copywriting guide:
Don’t just describe the specifics of your service, translate each detail into the benefit you offer to your customers.

4. Draw analogies

Are you the Ford, the Mercedes, or the Ferrari in your industry?

Analogies can quickly explain the difference between high and low quality. And high and low prices.

5. Educate your customers

When you sell to people, they raise their defenses. Nobody wants to be sold to.

But when you educate people about your service, then you can almost effortlessly captivate their attention.

How should they choose a web developer? Why do they need WordPress? How can they evaluate different quotes? What’s the difference between working with you or working with someone else?

Sometimes people tell me, that I’m giving away too many valuable tips on this blog. I disagree. The more tips I share, the more people want to work with me. That’s my experience so far.

Copywriting guide:
Don’t expect people to understand automatically why they should pay more for a better service. Don’t expect them to know the difference between high and low quality. Start a blog and share your expertise so you can educate your prospects and explain why they should pay more.

The truth about high-value copywriting

To escape the low-price monster, you need to stand out from your competition. You need to demonstrate your value. You need to show why people should be desperate to work with you.

Show why your service isn’t run-of-the-mill. Do what you love doing and show your passion. Add a large dose of personality.

Remember: You can charge more, when people want to work with you, because of who you are.

Image credit (adapted): Shutterstock


  1. I sell high-quality, expensive, handcrafted furniture on my website and these are great tips that I can apply.

    • Yes, for something like that it’s important to explain the artistry and craftsmanship required to create your high-quality furniture. Plus people don’t just buy your furniture because of functionality. They buy a piece of art or they buy something to create a rustic atmosphere, a mood that helps them to relax and feel at home. Your custom carved doors are amazing!

      I’d also imagine that buyers would be quite interested to learn more about the artists?

  2. Henneke, I’m telling you, you are psychic! I have literally just come back from a meeting, which went like this: “For a baby mat your product is very expensive at £85”. Me: “Yes, but it’s really high quality and can be used way beyond the baby stage.” Answer: “Ok, so how are you going to communicate this with your customer in 3 seconds?”. We were discussing how to sell my product to big retailers, ie shopper walks past the shelf and makes a buying decision in 3 seconds whilst scanning the shelf.
    I’m not sure it can be done in 3 seconds, but a blog or article might do the trick.

    • Big brother – or should I say sister – is watching you, Kerstin 😉

      Having marketed and sold premium products, I empathize with you. And on a supermarket shelf it can be extra difficult to show your value. Can you make your packaging look more expensive? So that it might stop people to grab your product and look at the product description in more detail?

  3. I’m working on the copy for my website, and I’ve been struggling. As a copywriter, I’m finding it easier to write for another business than for my own. These tips are helping me get back on the right track, using emotion and analogies to communicate value. Thank you so much!

    • Yes, I know exactly what you say. I keep finding excuses so I don’t have to update my own website copy. I still don’t have pages about the services I offer!

      Good luck with your site, Michelle. Thank you for stopping by.

  4. We’ve been discussing this very issue in my office for the last couple of months. Out client’s fees are based on a sliding scale based on their previous years sales but it can still be a tough sale at times. I will share your article with the rest of the staff. And as always, great stuff.

    • Thank you, Anita 🙂

      Does that mean you and your colleagues get paid based on what your clients can afford rather than how much you contribute to your client’s success?

      • No. The MBDA, which is an arm of the US Department of Commerce, funds business development centers around the country serving minority-owned business that gross at least $500,000 in sales annually. The fee is calculated based on the previous years sales. For example, the base hour rate is $100.00 per hour. If your 2012 sales were 2 million, the client would pay $40.00 per service hour with MBDA paying the balance of $60.00.

        It’s a great deal for the client financially as we are very experienced and give excellent advice, however, we have to be more conscious of not only serving our clients but letting them know how what we are doing will benefit them directly. Hence, the point of your excellently crafted piece. We do not have the ability to charge more for our services because they are contractually set, but I am interested in attracting clients on the higher end of the sales pole because my work for them tends to be more interesting. And if anyone wants to know what I’ve done for them lately, it’s definitely the client whose sales are in the millions.

  5. kitty Kilian says:

    Next time someone complains my courses are too expensive I’ll stick with your last line 😉
    kitty Kilian recently posted…Hou je niet van verkoopcampagnes? Een alternatieve strategieMy Profile

    • Look at the testimonials you get – half (if not more) of the praise is about you as a person.

      And you’re so famous in the Netherlands, you can charge whatever you want. 😉

      • Kitty Kilian says:

        Thank you 😉
        Fame is relative and complain they do.

        • If people don’t complain your prices are too high, then they’re surely too low. You’ll always have people who want something cheaper – especially the Dutch 😉

  6. Thanks for this I really struggle with copy so I’m going to try a few more emotive terms…

    • You’re welcome, Sue. Let me know if you have specific questions? I’d do my best to help.

      Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  7. Well said Henneke. I think that the advice to speak or write as if talking to a child is a good advice in every situation since one thing is what we think we are saying and another what others catch up. Better going for simplicity as it’s easier to understand everything.

    Short, or concise, and to the point. 🙂

    Have a fabulous weekend!
    Andrea T.H.W. recently posted…The Simplest Way You Can Lose Weight FastMy Profile

  8. Nice. This is really a great source of information. Thank you for sharing this very informative post.

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